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City drops trespassing charge against American Indian activist Bellecourt

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After a Hennepin County District Court judge declared a mistrial last week, city prosecutors decided Wednesday to drop a misdemeanor trespassing charge filed against civil rights activist Clyde Bellecourt, the Pioneer Press reports.

Bellecourt, co-founder of the American Indian Movement, was arrested last Christmas Eve after a demonstration of solidarity by a Canadian tribal group at the IDS Center in downtown Minneapolis.

According to the criminal complaint, Bellecourt attended the demonstration and refused to leave the building when security guards ordered him to do so.

The 77-year-old, who has diabetes, said he told guards that he needed to finish eating a sweet roll and coffee to raise his blood sugar before he left.

The case went to trial, but jurors were unable to reach a unanimous verdict. Bellecourt said he was told that the vote was 5-1 for acquittal.

Prosecutors said after the mistrial that the city intended to retry Bellecourt.

"I was looking forward to going back to court. I'm sure if they had another jury, there'd be an acquittal," Bellecourt told the Pioneer Press. "I felt I wasn't guilty and that's why I went to trial."

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